Links between dyslexia and behavioral issues

Overseas, a wealth of government-funded and private research reports a high correlation between learning difficulties and behaviour issues, often culminating in crime. Below is a summary of the key resources and studies in this area.

  • The UK Spelling it Out Report May 2008 is a comprehensive resource that references research in this area. Key studies include a 2006 Sterling University study which reported that 40% of drug dependents were dyslexic and British, American and Swedish studies that all estimate between 30-50% of prisoners are dyslexic.

    This report also has an economic assessment of the consequences of not dealing with dyslexia in UK schools, estimated at £1.8 billion a year (NZ$4.9 billion) in costs for truancy, loss of earnings, drug dependency and prison. To read the full report click here. An earlier KPMG report showed 70% of pupils expelled from UK schools have difficulties in basic literacy skills

  • A UK Government-commissioned report by high level consultant Sir Jim Rose Report – Identifying and Teaching Children and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties June 2009 – notes (p37) growing evidence on concerns about longterm outcomes of dyslexia. Some with severe literacy difficulties in their teens can experience disaffection and disengagement from education. Those from adverse family and social backgrounds may have considerably less favourable longterm outcomes relating to educational achievement, mental health and occupations. To read the full report click here.

  • The report of the UK Foresight Mental Capital and Wellbeing Project (2008) produced by the UK Government Office for Science, notes in its executive summary (P15) that learning difficulties too often remain unidentified or are treated only when advanced. “The result can be under-achievement in school and disengagement by the child, sometimes leading to a long term cycle of anti-social behaviour, exclusion and even criminality. Improvements in early detection combined with focused interventions could prevent problems developing and create broad and lasting benefits for the child and society”.

    The report also notes (P39) that: “Interventions that enhance the learning, development and resilience of children could have substantial economic and social implications over many decades: reducing later costs for the criminal justice system, the social and healthcare systems, mental health at work, improving lifetime earnings, and even in protecting against cognitive decline in old age”

    To read the full report click here.

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